Ringo (sometimes also credited as Johnny Ringo) was born in Jones Town, Kingston, Jamaica, where he attended Kingston College. He first began his career working in a record shop where he met Welton Irie, which proved to be the start of a long association. Both were influenced by, and shared their enthusiasm for, the popular deejay Ranking Trevor. Ringo joined the Soul Express and Ripper Tone sound systems as an operator. In the late 70s he was given an opportunity to chat on the microphone, which led to a number of recording sessions including that with Sly & The Revolutionaries for his first single "Trouble Never Set like Rain", which then sank
Photo by Beth Lesser (Reggae Quaterly). Text www.theiceberg.com
His observations on life in Jamaica became a success, although most sources state that.. "it was the fashionable slackness (lewd) lyrics that proved most popular. His recordings of the hits "Two Lesbians" and "Push Lady Push" represent the archetype of this fad." However Juha Vaahtera from Finland posted the following on the reggae newsgroup (rec.music.reggae)... "If you listen to the lyrics of "Push Lady Push" there's nothing slack on it. Ringo just tells his life story on that record and the title refers to his first memory of Jubilee labour ward when the doctor shouted to his mother: 'push, lady, push'. Very good memory, eh?
"Model With Me" isn't slack either and I wouldn't rate "Two Lesbians Hitch" very slack either, because it's based on observation of some bogus news spread in Kingston in the early 80's rather than any sexually explicit boasting of male capabilities."
In 1982 Ringo had an international hit with "Dub And Lef", backed with Edi Fitzroy's "First Class Citizen", produced by the Musical Ambassador. With the Roots Radics he chronicled the advent of the video recorder in Jamaica with the succinctly titled "Video", which led to numerous deejay hits on the subject. Other bestsellers included "Pain A Back (Me Can't Rhumba)", "The Boss", "Nah Fight Over Woman", "Model With Me" and "Married For The Opportunity".
He joined Lees Unlimited and the Gemini sound system, which was widely acknowledged as the sound that introduced Yellowman to the world. The sound followed Ray Symbolic's Hi Fi on an international tour, visiting the UK in 1983. The show was a major success and featured Peter Metro's brother Squidly Ranking and Welton Irie with Ringo. It was while touring the UK with Gemini that Ringo voiced "New Yorker" and "Nice And Easy" at Fashion Records' A Class studios. He also worked with Sugar Minott, who had recorded dub plates for the sound and also produced Ringo's 1983 hit, "One O'Clock Rock". He continued to record throughout the 80s, including the first in a series of clash albums for the Fashion label featuring the two singles and other voicings from the A Class sessions.